cfa level 2 study materials

The CFA® Level 2 exam is one of the most challenging exams in the financial world. In fact, 60% of financial analysts who try it fail the first time.

But why is the CFA Level II exam so tough?

Two words: time and commitment.

If you’re serious about becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst, you really need to study consistently to pass the CFA® Level 2 exam.

And while there’s no foolproof way to guarantee success on the test, having the right CFA Level II study materials can give you a leg up.

What are the best CFA® Level 2 study materials on the market? Here are our top picks:

1. AnalystPrep CFA® Level 2 Review Course

Analyst Prep

Studying for the CFA® Level II exam requires patience and determination. Thankfully, AnalystPrep prepares you for success with its engaging video lessons and in-depth coverage of CFA exams.

AnalystPrep’s comprehensive learning platform also offers mock CFA exams, topic-level quizzes, and progress tracking to ensure that you are always on track.

AnalystPrep CFA® Study Materials

Program specifics include:

  • 50 hours of video lessons
  • 1,500 pages of study notes
  • 225 item sets of 4 to 6 questions each
  • Two mock exams
  • Performance tracking tools
  • 5 Ask-a-Tutor questions
  • 24/7 tech support

Pros & Cons:

  • The platform’s video lessons are taught by experienced professionals and cover all aspects of the CFA® program curriculum. Many reviewers see their videos as more engaging and entertaining compared to other options—especially those taught by their lead instructor, James Forjan, Ph.D.
  • AnalystPrep also offers progress tracking, so you can always see how close you are to your goals based on its key concepts.
  • Finally, Ask-a-Tutor Questions allow you to seek expert advice for any confusing areas. Plus, the platform’s customer support team is available 24/7, so there’s lots of support with this program.
  • Their competitive pricing model makes high-quality CFA preparation accessible to a broader audience. Their platform provides a blend of quality and affordability, ensuring students get excellent value for their investment.

Bottom Line: AnalystPrep’s CFA program stands out as our top pick, blending meticulously crafted mock exams with cost-effective learning solutions. Their commitment to aligning with the Institute’s standards and offering high-quality preparation at an accessible price point makes them an unbeatable choice for CFA candidates. If you’re aiming for success in the CFA exams, AnalystPrep is the gold standard.

2. Kaplan CFA® Level 2 Review Course

Kaplan’s CFA® Level II Prep Course stands as a comprehensive guide for those gearing up for the Level II CFA® exam. Diving deep into the exam’s topics, it offers extensive lecture sessions, a wide array of practice questions, and mock exams that closely resemble the real deal. To bolster the learning experience, Kaplan also provides a detailed study guide and a rich set of online resources, ensuring candidates have all the tools they need to succeed.

Kaplan’s program includes:

  • OnDemand or Live Online Class
  • SchweserPro™ QBank
  • SchweserNotes™ & Videos
  • Mock and Checkpoint Exams
  • 3-Day Live Online Review Workshop
  • Schweser’s PassProtection

  • Kaplan Schweser is renowned for its meticulous and exhaustive exploration of the CFA® syllabus, ensuring that students are well-equipped with every piece of knowledge required for the exams.
  • Recognizing the diverse learning preferences of students, Kaplan Schweser provides an array of study formats. Whether it’s self-guided resources or live sessions, both online and offline, students can select what resonates best with their learning rhythm.
  • As one of the most recognized names in test preparation, Kaplan Schweser carries a legacy of trust and excellence. Their longstanding reputation in the field often gives students added confidence, knowing they’re preparing with a leader in the test prep industry.

  • Kaplan Schweser’s platform, while comprehensive, might not offer the flexibility some students desire for personalizing their study approach. This could be limiting for those who thrive on a more individualized preparation strategy.

Bottom Line: Kaplan Schweser stands as a titan in the test preparation world, renowned for its comprehensive content coverage and diverse learning formats tailored to various student needs. With its rich legacy in the industry, students can trust in Kaplan’s expertise and proven methodologies. While some might desire more customizability, the vast majority will find Kaplan’s resources more than sufficient to guide them to success in the CFA® exams.

3. Salt Solutions CFA® Level II Study Materials

Salt Solutions’ CFA® Level II Study Program stands out as a notable contender in the realm of CFA exam preparation. This article delves into the offerings of the course, its comparison with other CFA Level 2 prep courses, and helps you determine if it aligns with your study needs. Salt Solutions’ CFA® Level II Prep Program provides an all-encompassing online curriculum tailored to cover every topic assessed in the CFA Level 2 exam.

The program offers multiple tiers, from self-paced to premium packages. The Premium Package boasts features such as:

  • A vast collection of almost 4,500 multiple-choice questions
  • Comprehensive video content spanning over 160 hours
  • A total of nine rigorous practice exams
  • Tools for annotations, exam analysis, and performance metrics

Pros & Cons:

  • Salt Solutions zeroes in solely on CFA® exam preparation, ensuring they cater specifically to the nuances and requirements of CFA® aspirants, potentially offering more refined resources.
  • Being a recent addition to the CFA prep scene, Salt Solutions likely incorporates the newest e-learning tools, promising a smoother and more modern user experience than some traditional platforms.

  • As a fresh contender in the CFA prep arena, Salt Solutions hasn’t built the longstanding reputation that institutions like Kaplan Schweser possess.
  • While Salt Solutions’ exclusive focus on CFA prep can be advantageous, some students might seek platforms that cover a wider spectrum of financial exams, facilitate holistic learning, or overlapping subjects.

Bottom Line: Salt Solutions brings a fresh, dedicated approach to CFA® exam preparation with its modern platform and specialized expertise. However, its limited track record and singular concentration might not appeal to everyone, especially those seeking a platform with a broader financial exam focus.

4. The Princeton Review CFA® Level 2 Exam Prep Course

The Princeton Review CFA

The Princeton Review CFA® Level 2 is a comprehensive review course that covers all the topics tested on the Level II CFA® exam. The course includes hours of lectures, numerous practice questions, and mock exams similar to what you’ll find on the actual exam.

This course also comes with a study guide and online resources, so there is no shortage of prep materials.

5 Tips for Managing CFA Stress | CFA® Review | The Princeton Review

The Princeton Review CFA® Level II is a great way to prepare for the Level II CFA® exam. Included in the course are:

  • Over 60 hours of lectures
  • 1,500 question bank items
  • 2 Mock exams
  • 1,300 study slides
  • Online resources
  • And more

Pros & Cons:

  • One of the best things about the Princeton Review materials is that they have videos specifically crafted to teach you the best strategies for answering the vignette-type questions. In addition, these videos help CFA® candidates learn to master multiple-choice questions.
  • Their test questions and mock exams are also top-tier. As described by a student, “… the exams have really provided me a way to see what kind of questions are asked and then how I can better prepare for them.”

  • One downside to choosing this course is that it’s a relatively new offering. Previously, the Princeton Review only had CFA® level I materials.
  • Information Overload: With a staggering 900 slides and extensive video content, some students may find the material too dense, especially if they’re seeking a succinct review.
  • Some user feedback points out occasional inaccuracies in explanatory notes for drill questions, which could potentially hinder understanding or introduce misconceptions.

Bottom Line: The Princeton Review’s CFA program excels with its targeted video content and top-tier mock exams. Their money-back guarantee reduces investment risk for candidates. However, being a newer offering in the CFA space, its full breadth is still unfolding. Still, its quality and approach position it as a compelling choice for CFA prep.

5. Wiley CFA® Level II Study Materials

While Wiley once ranked high on our list for CFA preparation, its recent integration with UWorld casts doubt on its future course direction. Given the uncertainties surrounding this merger, we currently advise caution when considering Wiley for CFA studies.

Wiley’s CFA® Level II Study Guide is one of the most popular and comprehensive CFA exam prep courses on the market. This guide covers what the course offers, how it compares to other CFA Level 2 prep courses, and whether it’s the right fit for you. Wiley’s CFA® Level II Prep Course is a comprehensive online course that covers all of the topics tested on the CFA Level 2 exam. There are three different options, ranging from self-study to platinum. The Platinum Course includes:

  • Over 90 hours of video lectures.
  • 30 to 45-minute “bite-size” lessons
  • Print and e-study books
  • 1,500 + practice questions
  • Mock exams
Wiley’s CFA® Program Exam Review: Welcome and Overview of Study Materials

  • Wiley’s CFA® materials are renowned for their in-depth and thorough exploration of the CFA® curriculum, ensuring candidates are well-prepared for every topic on the exam.

  • With Wiley’s recent acquisition by UWorld, there’s ambiguity about the future direction and offerings of their CFA® prep courses.
  • Compared to some competitors, Wiley’s question bank might not be as extensive, potentially leaving students seeking additional practice elsewhere.
  • Some users have mentioned that Wiley’s platform feels less modern and intuitive compared to newer prep providers, which might affect the overall learning experience.

Bottom Line: While Wiley’s CFA® materials have been recognized for their comprehensive coverage of the curriculum, there are notable concerns. The recent acquisition by UWorld casts doubt on the future direction of their CFA® offerings. Additionally, their limited practice question bank and a somewhat outdated platform interface might hinder the optimal learning experience. Given these factors, candidates might want to explore other options to ensure they’re getting the best preparation possible.

What Is the CFA® Level 2 Exam?

Also known as the CFA® Level II exam, the CFA® Level 2 exam is a 3-hour, multiple-choice exam that consists of 240 questions. The exam is administered twice per year, in June and December.

To pass the CFA Level 2 exam, you’ll need to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly. To say the least, this is no easy feat.

The CFA® Level 2 exam covers a wide range of topics, including investment valuation, financial reporting and analysis, portfolio management, and more. You can find a full list of topics covered on the CFA® Institute website.

cfa exam

To help you prepare for the exam, the CFA® Institute publishes a study guide. This guide covers all the topics tested on the exam and includes practice questions for each topic.

It’s essential to remember that although the CFA’s guide is a must-read, it doesn’t contain enough information to pass the test.

So, in addition to the CFA® Institute study guide, there are a number of commercial study materials available. These materials include textbooks, question banks, practice exams, and more.

Choosing the right study materials is crucial to your CFA® Level 2 exam success. However, with so many different materials available, it can be tough to know where to start.

To help you out, we’ve put together a list of our top picks for the best CFA® Level 2 study materials. So keep reading to learn the best approaches to overcoming this daunting test.

How to Study for CFA® Level 2 Exam

As you study for the CFA® Level 2 exam, be sure your exam prep focuses on the learning outcome statement for each topic area. These statements outline what you should be able to do after completing your studies in that particular area.

If you can master the material covered in each learning outcome statement, you’ll be well on your way to passing the CFA® Level 2 exam.

In addition to learning the material covered in each learning outcome statement, you should also focus on practicing your problem-solving skills for each item set. The CFA® Level 2 exam is known for being challenging, and one way to prepare yourself is to practice solving difficult problems.

There are a number of ways to find practice problems, including using study guides and practice exams. If you can consistently solve practice problems correctly, you’ll likely do well on the actual CFA® Level 2 exam.

Finally, don’t forget to take some time to relax and clear your mind before the exam. Trying to cram everything in at the last minute will only make things more difficult. If you give yourself plenty of time to study and review the material, you’ll be in a much better position come exam day.

By following these simple tips, you can confidently walk into the CFA® Level 2 exam room, knowing that you’re prepared to do your best before moving on to studying for the CFA Level 3 exam.

CFA® Level 2 FAQs

How difficult is the CFA® Level 2 exam?

The Level 2 exam is notoriously difficult, with a pass rate of around 40%.

What is the best way to study for the CFA® Level 2 exam?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as different students will have different learning styles and preferences. However, some general tips on how to study for the CFA® Level 2 exam include creating a study schedule, enrolling in CFA® exam prep courses, and using practice exams.

How much does it cost to take the CFA® Level 2 exam?

The cost of taking the CFA® Level 2 exam is $1,200. However, there’s an early bird deal that sees the price decrease by several hundred dollars.

Kenneth W. Boyd is a former Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and the author of several of the popular "For Dummies" books published by John Wiley & Sons including 'CPA Exam for Dummies' and 'Cost Accounting for Dummies'.

Ken has gained a wealth of business experience through his previous employment as a CPA, Auditor, Tax Preparer and College Professor. Today, Ken continues to use those finely tuned skills to educate students as a professional writer and teacher.